IPO Requirements and Regulatory Obligations

Welcome to an informative guide where we demystify the fundamental requirements for an IPO journey spanning Switzerland, Europe, the US, and the UK.  Here, we discuss the regulatory commitments that transform private companies into publicly traded entities. 


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What is an IPO?

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is a significant financial event for a privately held company, where it offers its shares to the public for the first time. Essentially, it transforms from a privately-owned entity into a publicly traded company, allowing individuals and institutional investors to purchase shares and become shareholders. The process involves the issuance of new shares to raise capital for various purposes, such as expansion, debt reduction, or funding research and development projects. Going public through an IPO involves a series of intricate steps, including regulatory approvals, financial disclosures, and engagement with investment banks to facilitate the offering.

Why Go Public?

Companies choose to go public for several compelling reasons:

  • Access to Capital: Going public provides access to a broader pool of capital by allowing the company to issue and sell shares to the public. This influx of funds can be used for growth initiatives, acquisitions, research and development, and other strategic investments.
  • Liquidity for Existing Shareholders: Going public allows existing shareholders, such as founders, early investors, and employees with stock options, to monetize their holdings by selling shares in the public market.
  • Enhanced Visibility and Prestige: A public listing can increase a company's visibility and credibility in the market. It can attract more customers, partners, and business opportunities, which can contribute to long-term success.
  • Currency for Acquisitions: Publicly traded shares can be used as a currency for acquisitions, allowing the company to pursue mergers and acquisitions more easily.
  • Employee Incentives: Stock options and equity-based compensation plans become more valuable and appealing to employees when the company is publicly traded. This can aid in attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Market Valuation: Going public can provide a transparent and market-driven valuation for the company, which can be advantageous for future fundraising efforts.
  • Exit Strategy: For early investors and venture capitalists, an IPO represents a potential exit strategy, allowing them to realize returns on their investments.

However, it's important to note that going public also comes with significant regulatory and compliance requirements, as well as increased scrutiny from shareholders and the public. IPO candidates must carefully weigh the benefits against the challenges and be prepared to meet the regulatory obligations associated with being a publicly traded company.

IPO Requirements in Switzerland, Europe, the US, and the UK

Taking your company public is a significant milestone, but it comes with its own set of requirements and regulations. Let's delve into the key IPO requirements in Switzerland, Europe, the US, and the UK.


In Switzerland, going public entails compliance with specific regulatory requirements overseen by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). IPO candidates in Switzerland should consider the following key requirements:


  • Legal Structure and Corporate Governance: Swiss IPO candidates must establish a robust legal structure and adhere to Swiss corporate governance standards, including the Swiss Code of Best Practice for Corporate Governance. This includes appointing independent auditors, forming a board of directors, and implementing sound corporate governance practices.
  • Financial Statements: Prepare audited financial statements in accordance with either Swiss Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (Swiss GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), depending on the chosen reporting framework.
  • Prospectus: Create a comprehensive prospectus that provides detailed information about the company's financials, business model, risks, and management. This prospectus must be submitted to FINMA for approval, similar to the process in other European countries.
  • Listing Requirements: If planning to list on the SIX Swiss Exchange, ensure compliance with the listing requirements set forth by the exchange.


In Europe, the IPO process is governed by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and individual country-specific regulations. Some common IPO requirements across Europe include:

  • Financial Statements: IPO candidates must prepare and disclose audited financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
  • Prospectus: A comprehensive prospectus, including detailed information about the company's financials, business model, risks, and management, must be submitted to the relevant regulatory authorities.
  • Corporate Governance: Companies must adhere to stringent corporate governance rules, ensuring transparency, accountability, and effective risk management.

United Kingdom

In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the IPO process. Key IPO requirements in the UK include:

  • Listing Rules: Companies seeking a public listing on the London Stock Exchange must comply with the FCA's Listing Rules, which govern the admission process and ongoing obligations.
  • Prospectus Regulation: Similar to Europe, companies must prepare a prospectus that provides relevant information about the business, financials, and risks.
  • Disclosure Obligations: Publicly traded companies in the UK have ongoing disclosure obligations, including regular reporting, updates on significant events, and insider trading regulations.

United States

In the US, IPO candidates must comply with the regulations set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Key IPO requirements in the US include:

  • SEC Registration: Companies seeking to go public must file a registration statement with the SEC, which includes financial statements, business information, and disclosures.
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): After going public, companies must comply with the provisions of SOX, which governs financial reporting, internal controls, and corporate governance.
  • Ongoing Reporting: Publicly traded companies in the US are required to submit regular reports, including quarterly and annual filings, as well as other event-driven disclosures.

Regulatory Obligations for Publicly Traded Companies

Once a company goes public, it becomes subject to ongoing regulatory obligations to ensure transparency and protect stakeholders. Let's explore some of these obligations:

  • Financial Reporting: Publicly traded companies must provide regular financial reports, which are typically filed electronically. With MDD's SaaS reporting software, companies can streamline their financial reporting processes, ensuring accurate and timely submissions.

  • XBRL Compliance: To enhance transparency and comparability, many regulatory bodies, such as the SEC and the EU, require companies to submit financial statements in XBRL format. MDD's comprehensive XBRL reporting solution simplifies the conversion process, enabling IPO candidates to meet this requirement effortlessly.

  • Stakeholder Communication: Publicly traded companies must maintain effective communication with stakeholders. This includes providing online reports, regulatory reports, and other relevant information to keep stakeholders informed about the company's performance and future prospects.


Understanding the IPO requirements and regulatory obligations after becoming a publicly traded company is vital for a successful transition. As IPO candidates, it is crucial to work with trusted partners like MDD and leverage their reporting software to ensure compliance and enhance stakeholder satisfaction.

Now you’re probably asking yourself the following questions:

  • What comprises a financial and a sustainability report?
  • How are they set up?
  • Are there any reporting standards I need to follow?

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